Whakatōhea Pre-Settlement Claims Trust (the Trust) has welcomed today’s release of a Waitangi Tribunal report inquiring into the Trust’s Deed of Mandate to settle the Treaty claims of the Whakatōhea iwi.
Chairman Graeme Riesterer says the Trust is now working through the report’s findings in detail and considering how best to address the Tribunal’s recommendations.
“Our job is to work on behalf of Whakatōhea – those of us here now as well as those of us to come, and to acknowledge and protect the mana of those who have gone before us,” he says.
“The Trust remains committed to continuing to act in the best interests of all Whakatōhea.”
Mr Riesterer says the Trust acknowledges that the Tribunal has identified a need to test the ‘pulse of the people’ in relation to the current settlement negotiations.
However, he believes the findings of the report should be considered in the context of the efforts Whakatōhea has made to try to achieve a settlement, which include more than 20 years of discussions and at least seven years’ work to achieve a mandate.
“We believe the progress we have made in negotiations with the Crown is a hugely positive step for Whakatōhea,” he says.
“Our goal has always been, and continues to be, to establish an enduring settlement for all of Whakatōhea.”
The Trust says it has been encouraged by the support from iwi members throughout the Waitangi Tribunal hearing process, especially kuia and kaumātua who have strived for decades to achieve a settlement for Whakatōhea.
“We have been humbled by their tautoko and want to recognise their commitment to this important kaupapa,” says Mr Riesterer.
“The Trust also acknowledges that reconfirming support for our settlement negotiations amongst all the members of our hapū would be a positive step, and both the Trust and the Crown supported this idea during the Waitangi Tribunal hearing.”
Mr Riesterer confirms that the Trust also supports the Tribunal’s recommendation for the Crown to engage with the Mokomoko and Te Kahika whānau.
“We are all whānau and, as we have always said, we need to come together on this journey.
“Anybody can disagree with this settlement, that’s their right, but if the majority of our iwi decide this is the right settlement then we owe it to them and our tīpuna to progress.”
The Trust says it will communicate with all its iwi members on next steps through a further round of hui-a-hapū and hui-a-rohe in the coming weeks.
“We want to kōrero with all of our people to let them know what effect the report will have, once we have fully considered the Tribunal’s findings,” Mr Riesterer says.
“We believe this settlement is crucial to the future of our iwi. The settlement redress will not only acknowledge the past, but will give all of Whakatōhea the tools to be able to drive our own future.”
Whakatōhea Pre-Settlement Claims Trust has today signed an Agreement in Principle with the Crown at Parliament, which it says is a positive step towards settling its historical Treaty of Waitangi
Chairman Graeme Riesterer says Whakatōhea first attempted to settle its raupatu (land confiscation) claims against the Crown over 20 years ago, and is pleased to be getting closer to achieving what its
kaumātua set out to do so long ago.
“Today’s signing of the Agreement in Principle is an important milestone for us,” he says.
“Our kaumātua struggled for so long and endured so much hardship to achieve this settlement, and we owe it to them to complete this journey.”
Kaumātua and Trustee Bruce Pukepuke says the settlement is about much more than financial redress, as the iwi can never be adequately compensated for the huge losses they endured.
“This settlement is about us as a people, rediscovering our Whakatōhea identity and coming together as one,” says Mr Pukepuke.
“Although this is a Crown process, it is also an opportunity for our iwi, hapū and whānau to reconnect with our hau kāinga.
“We believe it will allow our people to begin to heal.”
Over the past year Whakatōhea Pre-Settlement Claims Trust has held hui throughout Aotearoa to ensure the views and aspirations of Whakatōhea are reflected in any settlement outcome.
Mr Riesterer says the Trust has been encouraged by feedback from its people around the progress that has been made to date.
“We appreciate that not all our whānau will agree, but we are focused on working to get the best outcome for all of Whakatōhea.
“Our role is to ensure our iwi can look to a brighter future, and facilitate them to thrive culturally, socially, and economically,” Mr Riesterer says.
The Trust will now negotiate the details of the settlement with the Crown, in the hopes of reaching a draft Deed of Settlement in the next 12 to 18 months. Trustees are calling on all Whakatōhea descendants to register and play a part in the journey.
“If you whakapapa to Whakatōhea, it is your birth-right to be a part of this.”
For more information visit www.whakatoheapresettlement.org.nz
WPCT Chairman Graeme Riesterer and Treaty Negotiations Minister Hon. Christopher Finlayson sign the AIP at Parliament.
About Whakatōhea Pre-Settlement Claims Trust
It is widely acknowledged that Whakatōhea suffered significant prejudice from various Crown acts and omissions since 1840, including the large scale raupatu (confiscation) of Whakatōhea whenua
(land) in the 1860s. Whakatōhea first attempted to settle the historical Whakatōhea raupatu claims against the Crown in 1996.
The Whakatōhea Pre-Settlement Claims Trust was set up in October 2016 following an election and appointment process. 91.6% of the iwi voted in favour of the Trust progressing a Whakatōhea Treaty
settlement with the Crown.
Whakatōhea Pre-Settlement Claims Trust’s vision is “Whāia to pae tawhiti kia tata. Whāia to pae tata kiā maua” – Pursue the distant pathways of your dreams so they may become your reality.
It aims to successfully negotiate a Deed of Settlement with the Crown, to secure a robust and enduring platform for Whakatōhea into the future.
Whakatōhea Pre-Settlement Claims Trust welcomes the Waitangi Tribunal decision to hold a hearing on the Crown’s decision to recognise our mandate to negotiate a Treaty of Waitangi settlement for Whakatōhea.
We look forward to addressing any concerns that the Tribunal, or anyone else might have in the same forthright and transparent way that we always have.
We respect the right of any member of Whakatōhea to challenge the process. However, we remain committed to getting the best outcome for our people, to brighten our futures and facilitate the ability of our iwi to thrive culturally, socially, and economically.
The Crown provided a comprehensive settlement offer to Whakatōhea on 2nd August 2017. That offer was presented at a Hui-a-Iwi at Waiaua Marae on Saturday 5th August 2017 and has since been accepted in principle by the Whakatōhea Pre-settlement Claims Trust.
We will now work toward bringing the offer together into an Agreement in Principle that will be signed on the 18th of August. That agreement will set out the specific components of the proposed redress, however it will not be binding and our people will have the final say about whether we settle or not. WPCT has held a number of hui throughout Aotearoa to ensure that the views and aspirations of our people are reflected in any settlement outcome. Through this engagement, we are confident that we maintain the support displayed by our people when they chose to mandate the WPCT. We are humbled by the encouragement of our people for the progress that has been achieved to date, and their confidence in our efforts to secure a robust and enduring platform for Whakatohea into the future.
As always, our door is always open to anyone who has whakapapa to Whakatōhea, who might want to discuss these matters and participate within the process, as this is a settlement for all our people.
Whakatōhea Iwi members gathered at the Ōpōtiki Senior Citizens Hall to hear an update
from the Whakatōhea Pre-Settlement Claims Trust on the progress of the Whakatōhea
settlement process to now.
The update is following the Pre-Settlement Trust’s 2nd round of hui held at several locations
across the motu.
Iwi members were able to take part in discussions regarding the structure of negotiations.
The update hui also provided an opportunity for individuals who attended, to workshop
considerations for Whakatōhea’s future and put forward any queries and questions to the
Whakatōhea Pre Settlement Claims Trust (WPSCT) has just completed a 2nd round of information hui
around the country as well as within the Whakatōhea rohe.
Negotiator Maui Hudson is seen here seeking feedback and queries from Kaumātua in attendance at
the Taumata Kaumātua meeting held in Opōtiki.
Kaumātua had the opportunity to provide their aspirations for settlement as well as quiz and query
the negotiation process on the journey to settlement.
These meetings are held every month at the Whakatōhea Maori Trust Board rooms, you can check
at reception for the next meeting date.
Whakatōhea Pre Settlement Claims Trust Negotiator Maui Hudson presents to kaumatua
The Whakatohea Pre Settlement Claims Trust recently completed their latest round of information hui in Opotiki and
out in the regions. The aim of the hui was to share information about the process and the negotiation strategy as well
as canvas ideas and aspirations from the participants.
Hui were held at Terere marae and venues in Whakatane, Tauranga, Hamilton, Auckland and Wellington. The hui
planned for Rotorua had to be aborted because of the weather and that has been rescheduled for next Wednesday
26th April. It was great to see the range of people turning out to hear about progress including a number of rangatahi,
some of the WAI claimants, people involved in the 1996 negotiations, whanau working in the upper levels of
One of the overwhelming messages that emerged from this round of hui is that it is time for Whakatohea to complete
the settlement. People didn’t want to see another generation of kaumatua pass away without seeing a positive
outcome from this negotiation. The participants provided useful feedback on the areas for negotiation and what they
wanted to see Whakatohea develop into the future.
Some options for the future included development of trade training courses in Opotiki, student accommodation for
University students, supporting the aquaculture development, the return of lands, and co-governance over the DoC
The Whakatohea Pre-settlement Claims Trust appreciated the contributions that the Iwi have made and the ideas and
concepts for settlement will contribute to the next round of workshops with Hapu and Marae here in Opotiki. As
Graeme Reisterer notes, “It is important to have the opportunity to engage with as many Whakatohea as possible so
they see themselves in the settlement process going forward”.
Whakatōhea whānau connect at the Whakatōhea Pre Settlement Claims Trust workshop